The Australian share market is at its highest level in more than 10 years as the major banks soared, while Telstra plunged after announcing major job cuts and asset sales.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 70.5 points, or 1.16 per cent, to 6,172.6 points, its highest level since January 2008, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 65.7 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 6,274.6 points.
The gains were achieved across the board, with the exception of the telco sector, which was hit by Telstra’s 4.8 per cent decline to a seven year low of $2.77.
The company’s fall reflects investor concerns about future dividends, and Telstra’s ability to deliver on its plans to simplify its business in the face of increasing competition.
Australian Stock Report head of research Chris Conway said he was surprised by the market’s strong performance given weak leads from the US and European markets.
“The bulls just decided that today was going to be the day, and once we were through 6,150 points, it’s been fairly strong,” he said.
“It’s that little piercing in the dam wall. Once a little bit of water starts to leak through, then all of a sudden it brings in more buying and it builds on itself.”
Mr Conway said the S&P/ASX200 could hit 6,250 points “within quick time”, though the rally could be derailed by global issues, primarily the prospect of a trade war between the US and China.
Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were the best performing banks, gaining 2.9 per cent, while ANZ added 2.7 per cent and National Australia Bank was 1.9 per cent higher.
Macquarie Group continued its recent run, adding 2.7 per cent to a new record high of $121.72.
The healthcare sector also rose for a second straight day, with biotechnology giant CSL adding 1.1 per cent to a fresh all-time high of $193.81.
The resource sector found support in late trading, with Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton each adding 0.7 per cent, despite flat iron ore futures trading.
The Australian dollar is back near 74 US cents after falling to a 13-month low on Tuesday, as immediate concerns about trade tensions between the US and China abated.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 70.5 points, or 1.16 per cent, at 6,172.6 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 65.6 points, or 1.06 per cent, at 6,274.5 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 78 points, or 1.28 per cent, at 6,184 points at 1630 AEST
* National turnover was 2.9 billion securities traded, worth $7.2 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 73.99 US cents, from 73.65 US cents on Tuesday
* 81.51 Japanese yen, from 80.77 yen
* 63.97 euro cents, from 63.58 euro cents
* 56.25 British pence, from 55.74 pence
* 107.20 NZ cents, from 106.88 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,273.21 per fine ounce, from $US1,280.02 per fine ounce on Tuesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 4.50 per cent May 2021, 2.1109pct, from 2.0751pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.75pct May 2028, 2.6564pct, from 2.6237pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* September 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.335 (implying a yield of 2.665pct), from 97.365 (2.635pct) on Tuesday
* September 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.865 (2.135pct), from 97.895 (2.105pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)